General advice on updating Leopard

Version 1
Last Modified: Mar 15, 2012 11:13 AM

(This is not about upgrading to a newer version of OS X)


Some general advice on updating:


It is worth noting that it is an extreme rarity for updates to cause upsets to your system, as they have all been extensively beta-tested, but they may well reveal pre-existing ones, particularly those of which you may have been unaware. If you are actually aware of any glitches, make sure they are fixed before proceeding further.


So before you do anything else:


If you can, make a full backup first to an external hard disk. Ideally you should always have a bootable clone of your system that enables you to revert to the previous pre-update state.


Turn off sleep mode for both screen and hard disk.


Disconnect all peripherals except your keyboard and mouse.


1. Repair Permissions (in Disk Utility)


2. Verify the state of your hard disk using Disk Utility. If any faults are reported, restart from your install disk (holding down the C key), go to Disk Utility, and repair your startup disk. Restart again to get back to your startup disk.


At least you can now be reasonably certain that your system does not contain any obvious faults that might cause an update/upgrade to fail.


3. Download the correct version of the COMBO update from the Apple download site.


The Combo updater of Leopard 10.5.8 can be found here:


If you prefer to download updates via Software Update in the Apple menu (which would ensure that the correct version for your Mac was being downloaded), it is not recommended to allow SU to install major (or even minor) updates automatically. Set Software Update to just download the updater without immediately installing it. There is always the possibility that the combined download and install (which can be a lengthy process) might be interrupted by a power outage or your cat walking across the keyboard, and an interrupted install will almost certainly cause havoc. Once it is downloaded, you can install at a time that suits you. You should make a backup copy of the updater on a CD in case you ever need a reinstall.


Full details about the 10.5.8 update here:


More information on using Software Updater here:


Using the Combo updater ensures that all system files changed since the original 10.5.0 are included, and any that may have been missed out or subsequently damaged will be repaired. The Delta updater, although a temptingly smaller download, only takes you from the previous version to the new one, i.e. for example from 10.5.7 to 10.5.8. Software Update will generally download the Delta updater only. The preferable Combo updater needs to be downloaded from Apple's download site.


Now proceed as follows:


4. Close all applications and turn off energy saving and screensaver.


5. Unplug all peripherals except your keyboard and mouse.


6. Install the update/upgrade. Do not under any circumstances interrupt this procedure. Do not do anything else on your computer while it is installing. Be patient.


7. When it ask for a restart to complete the installation, click restart. This can take longer than normal, there are probably thousands of files to overwrite and place in the correct location. Do nothing while this is going on.


8. Once your Mac is awake, repair permissions again, and you should be good to go!


If your Mac seems slightly sluggish or ‘different’, perform a second restart. It can’t hurt and is sometimes efficacious! In fact a second restart can be recommended.


9. Open a few of your most used applications and check that all is OK. In this connection please remember that not all manufacturers of third party applications and plug-ins, add-ons, haxies etc, will have had time to do any necessary rewrites to their software to make them compliant with the latest version of your operating system. Give them a week or two while you regularly check their websites for updates.


N.B. Do not attempt to install two different updates at the same time as each may have different routines and requirements. Follow the above recommendations for each update in turn.


Lastly, Apple's own article on the subject of Software Update may also be useful reading: